Hosting a dinner party is a great way to get friends together. But without even noticing, the costs can quickly spiral from pricey to ridiculous!
There’s no shame in planning a budget dinner party. We have all the essential tips to save money when catering for guests.
If you’re looking for ways to save on a dinner party, here are ideas that can help:
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Choose a potluck-style meal
Ask each guest to bring a dish or two and share the cost of the main course. This way, everyone gets to contribute, and the host doesn’t have to bear the burden of providing food.
Planning can help you avoid last-minute expenses and get the best deals on ingredients and supplies. Planning for your dinner party can help you avoid unexpected costs and get the best deals on ingredients and supplies.
Start by deciding on a menu that fits your budget, and then determine which items to purchase in advance and which will be bought closer to the event date.
This way, you won’t have to make last-minute runs to the store or overpay for items because they’re running out of stock.
Additionally, planning gives you more time to compare prices at different stores to experience the best deals. Planning is key when it comes to saving money on a dinner party!
Buy generic brands
Generic brands are often just as good as name brands but cost less! In many cases, the generic equivalents of name-brand items are just as good in terms of quality and flavor—but they cost significantly less!
Generic brands can be a great way to save money on groceries for your dinner party.
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Grocery stores often place store-brand products on lower shelves or more accessible areas than their name-brand counterparts, so it’s easier to find cheaper options without too much searching around.
When shopping for ingredients for your dinner party, always watch for generic items. You may find that they deliver just as delicious at a fraction of the price!
Borrow and Recycle
Any self-respecting dinner host needs to at least attempt to make their home look a little fancier than usual! Ask friends or family to borrow furniture if you need a suitable table or enough chairs.
A simple centerpiece can be made using jam jars and freshly cut flowers. Most people don’t remember the finer details- they remember if they had fun! Could you keep it simple to keep costs down?
Cut the cost of your drinks
Most dinner guests will enjoy a drink before, during, and after the food is served. Instead of making expensive individual welcome cocktails, fill a sharing pitcher jug inspired by your favorite tipple.
This way, you can add more soft drinks and fruit juices to make liquor go further. As long as you don’t have an undercover sommelier at the table, a budget red or white wine will please the palette of most guests.
Budget meals can taste great
Appetizers can often be the most expensive part of a meal. Cheap and cheerful versions of posh recipes can curb the costs of catering for many people. Sliced bread and butter is a popular choice in restaurants that is easy to do at home.
Guests are sure to love the rustic style of a homemade pizza. Provide a selection of toppings so everyone can get involved with the cooking process. Guests will be so proud of their pizza they won’t feel like they’re missing out on a-la-carte dining.
Look For Discounts
Coupons can bring your dining expenses down dramatically. Look out for discounts on costly ingredients like meats and desserts.
You can also ask for discounts. See our guide: How To Get Discounts? Just Ask
The best entertainment is free
A round of classic dinner party games is the perfect way to round off the evening. Charades is a great team game that will get everyone laughing. If your group of friends particularly likes board games, ask each guest to bring along their favorite game to share.
Use your smartphone to take advantage of the hundreds of free game apps you can download and play again and again.
Make it BYOB
Having guests bring their drinks is a great way to save money on a dinner party. You can even make it a fun challenge by asking each guest to bring something unique or offering incentives like prizes for the most creative beverage.
You can also provide non-alcoholic options, like juices and sparkling water, to ensure all your guests are having a good time.
This strategy means avoiding buying or stocking large amounts of alcohol, which can get expensive quickly. It also allows guests to choose exactly what they want to imbibe throughout the night.
Shop in bulk
Buying ingredients in bulk can help you save money on your grocery bill. One great way to save money on groceries for your dinner party is to buy ingredients in bulk from a warehouse club like Costco or Sam’s.
You can often get a significant discount on their total cost by purchasing items like meats, cheeses, and produce in large quantities.
You can also enjoy reduced prices even when buying from a single store. Some stores offer discounts on bulk purchases of certain items, including canned goods and non-perishables.
If you’re having a larger dinner party, you can split the large quantity into small portions so that you don’t have to worry about stocking too much food or wasting leftovers.
Buying in bulk is an excellent way to save money on groceries without sacrificing quality!
Use seasonal ingredients
In-season produce is usually cheaper than out-of-season items, so take advantage of what’s available at your local farmers’ market or grocery store.
Buying seasonal ingredients also helps cut back on food waste.
Skip the fancy decorations
You don’t need to spend much money on decorations for your dinner party. Simple table settings are often just as effective (and much more affordable).
Enjoy Your Dinner Party
Planning a dinner party can be a great way to gather with friends and family and create a unique and memorable experience. But it can also be expensive.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can save on groceries and other necessities to have an enjoyable dinner party without breaking the bank.
With clever planning and resourcefulness, you can have a fantastic dinner party without worrying about keeping your costs low!
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.